European Air War!
The Luftwaffe attacks the British Fleets anchorage at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. This raid causes the death of a British civilian, the first of the war.
The RAF retaliates against the Luftwaffe’s bombing of Scapa Flow, by attacking the German seaplane base at Hornum on the island of Sylt with 50 bombers. Later photo reconnaissance reveals little damage to the target.
Dutch fighters shoots down a British bomber near Rotterdam by mistake, killing one flier.
RAF launch attacks against ships at Wilhelmshaven.
RAF raid Stavanger airfield on Norway’s west coast.
RAF attack Oslo airfield.
German mine-carrying bomber crashes on Clacton, Essex; two civilians and four Germans killed, 156 people injured.
60 Luftwaffe He-111 bombers not having received the countermanding order attack besieged Rotterdam, devastating the centre of the city. British and French aircraft are unsuccessful in destroying the German-built bridges across the Meuse and 50 bombers are shot down by AA fire.
RAF Bomber Command (Peirse) begins a strategic air offensive against targets inside Germany by attacking industrial installations in the Ruhr, but with minimal effect.
Biggest RAF attack on Germany to date as the oil tanks at Bremen and Hamburg are blown up. British claim 1,000 German aircraft lost in a single week.
Luftwaffe bomb Channel ports and the RAF attack Rotterdam's refineries.
British cipher experts at Bletchley Park break the Luftwaffe Enigma code.
The first British civilian bomb casualties are reported.
Luftwaffe raids industrial centres in the Rhone Valley from Lyons to Marseilles
300 German planes bomb Paris inflicting around 900 casualties.
French planes attack Munich and Frankfurt as reprisals for Paris bombing.
Hauptmann. Mölders, leader of III/JG 53 and Germany's top air ace (25 kills) is shot down near Compiegne and taken prisoner.
Air raids along many parts of East Coast of England.
French bomb Berlin.
Paris prepares for siege as the Luftwaffe pounds the city. The RAF attacks Turin and Genoa with 36 Whitley bombers.
Italian bombers attack the French naval base at Toulon.
German planes raid Thames Estuary and East Coast.
More than 100 German bombers make raids over Britain.
The RAF bomb Rouen airfield.
First early morning air-raid alarm is heard in London.
German aircraft bomb Jersey.
The RAF carries out night raids on Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.
RAF begins night bombing of Germany.
Preliminary phase of Battle of Britain begins with German air attacks on Channel convoys with the aim of tempting the RAF in to battle. The Luftwaffe launches its first large scale attack on Britain as 70 aircraft attack the dock facilities at Swansea and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Pembrey in Wales.
Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft Production, says ‘the sky is the limit’ for plane purchases from US, with spending running at £2.5 million per day on aircraft.
The Luftwaffe carries out raids on Aberdeen in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales.
British claim 40 Luftwaffe planes down in a week; British civilian casualty figures for last month announced: 336 killed, 476 seriously injured.
British claim 25 German planes downed in a day, the highest total so far.
80 German planes attack Dover harbour; British claim 17 down; Air Ministry accuses Germans of using Red Cross planes for reconnaissance. Britain says 248 German planes shot down since the 18th June.
The Luftwaffe ceases major raids over Britain as it builds up strength for it forth coming onslaught.
RAF bomb the Krupp works at Essen.
Goering sets the 10th August 1940 as 'Eagle day', the start of the Luftwaffe major offensive against the RAF and its Airfields.
The Luftwaffe renews its attacks against Channel convoys and its escorts, with heavy air battles occurring over the Channel. The Germans lose 31 aircraft against the RAF's 16. The Home Secretary announces July civilian air raid casualty figures as 258 killed and 320 seriously injured.
Due to poor weather conditions, the Luftwaffe delays 'Eagle Day' until the 13th.
The Battle of Britain begins in earnest with 400 German planes attacking channel convoys and the coastal areas of Britain including Dover, Weymouth and Portland. The British claim 65 Luftwaffe planes down for the loss of 26 RAF fighters. It actuality, only 35 Luftwaffe planes were shot down, while the RAF had lost 29.
The Luftwaffe attacks Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and all along Kent and Sussex coast. They also attack forward RAF airfields and radar stations in preparation for 'Eagle Day'. British claims are high as they report 62 Luftwaffe planes shot down against the RAF's 13, while in reality it was just 26 Luftwaffe and 22 RAF planes lost. The Dortmund-Ems canal blocked by low flying British bomber, the pilot is later awarded VC.
‘Eagle Day’, the first day of the maximum offensive by the Luftwaffe to destroy RAF airfields and gain air supremacy over England in preparation of Operation Sea Lion. The Luftwaffe launches 1,485 sorties, but because of confusion and delays, the main attacks were not mounted until the afternoon. Some airfields were attacked, but not the primary fighter bases. Luftwaffe losses were heavy with 39 aircraft being lost (mainly Ju-87 Stuka's), while the RAF lost just 15 aircraft. Twelve RAF Blenheim bombers attack Hemsteds airfield in Holland. Only one plane returns.
Air activity less pronounced, but Germans attack Southampton and Hastings; reported losses Germans 31, RAF 7.
Although 'Eagle Day' was the 13th August, due to poor results, Goering decides that the 15th August with instead be known as 'Eagle Day'. The Luftwaffe launches its greatest attacks so far against the RAF's airfields, involving more than 1,000 German planes and 1,786 sorties. The Luftwaffe lost 76 aircraft, although these were mainly from Luftflotte 5 which made diversionary attacks from Norway, while the RAF lost 35 fighters and its airfields suffered heavy damage. Twenty German JU88 aircraft from Denmark attack Driffield, Yorkshire, destroying ten Whitley aircraft on the ground.
The Luftwaffe again raid southern England.
Further heavy raids by Luftwaffe on southeast England and southern London. Major damage is done to RAF airfields and fighter commands control system. British claim 144 Germans shot down, later revised to 67 with RAF losses of 33 planes lost but eight pilots safe.
Bad weather and a reorganisation of fighter strength by the Luftwaffe causes a lull in operations.
Churchill reviews the progress of air war in Commons and says ‘Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many, to so few’. The Luftwaffe withdraws the Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber from strategic operations against England after losing 20 per cent of their Stuka force to the RAF.
The Luftwaffe begins a new phase in its offensive by sending over a higher proportion of fighters to bombers, in an effort to keep losses down. The unofficial start of the Blitz on London begins with a lost formation of German bombers mistakenly dropping their bombs over the capital, damaging St. Giles and Cripplegate.
Luftwaffe attacks continue against the RAF's airfields in southeast England. The first night-attack by RAF on Berlins industrial targets is made by 43 aircraft from RAF Bomber Command in retaliation for the accidental attack on London the night before.
The Irish government protests to Berlin over bombs dropped in County Wexford, which killed three girls. London is attacked by the Luftwaffe for six hours.
Raids continue on London, Midlands, Southwest England and Wales.
Germany apologises to Eire for Wexford bombing. Intense dogfights over London and Home Counties. Britain refuses German proposal to use 64 Red Cross ships to rescue airmen from the English Channel.
British claim 293 German aircraft shot down in the past week for loss of 113 British planes.
Air attacks continue on London.
Hitler threatens that British cities will be bombed night after night in reprisal for the bombing of Berlin.
An irate Hitler orders a new offensive by the Luftwaffe against Britain with no regard for the civilian population. London is set as the primary target, after the RAF makes several night raids on Berlin, causing many civilian casualties. Air raids continue over Southeast England with a hospital in Kent being hit, killing 23 patients and two nurses. August civilian casualty figures announced at 1,075 killed and 1.261 seriously injured.
The Luftwaffe bring to a close the third phase of their air offensive, having lost 308 aircraft in the last 2 weeks. However, the RAF have suffered 273 fighter losses and suffered extensive damage to their airfields and ground control systems. The official start of the London Blitz is initiated by the Germans, as they intentionally bomb the capital.
Eastern and Southern England Commands are on full invasion alert, when at 16.56 London's air-raid sirens announce the arrival of 375 German bombers and supporting fighters. They come up the Thames to London from the sea and set the London docks ablaze. The day-light raiders are gone by 18.00, but the fires are still burning when the night raiders arrive to inflict more damage at 20.10 during which 306 are killed and 1,337 seriously injured. The British make extravagant claims that 347 German aircraft have been lost in past week against just 128 British.
RAF Bomber Command attacks concentrate on disrupting the German invasion effort. The Luftwaffe attacks London between dusk-to-dawn. 20 people are killed as an aerial torpedo hits an East End block of flats. Total casualties are estimated at 286 killed and 1,400 seriously injured.
350 German planes attack London causing fires near St. Paul’s and the Guildhall; heavy casualties in bombed East End school housing homeless Blitz victims.
Another heavy night attack (10/11) on London, 18 killed; Buckingham Palace damaged.
Afternoon attacks on London: 110 killed and 260 injured; Dover suffers worst attack of war.
Co-ordination of searchlights and AA guns improves protection of London from air attack. Germans claim that RAF are dropping Colorado beetles over German potato crops.
Buckingham Palace again bombed; Royal Chapel wrecked.
The climax of the Luftwaffe's daylight raids against the London docks is reached with the Luftwaffe's biggest raid on London so far. The British originally claim 185 Germans aircraft shot down, but later revise this to 56 German and 26 RAF planes lost.
Piccadilly, Park Lane, Bond St are hit in night raids.
Churchill announces in the Commons that in first half of September 2,000 civilians have been killed and 8,000 seriously injured in air raids; the figure for service casualties, for the same period was 250.
Heavy night raids continue on London; Brighton also suffers badly. RAF continues attacks on invasion fleet in French and Belgian Channel ports.
129 RAF bombers attack industrial targets in Berlin this night, but are mostly ineffectual.
18th successive night raid on London. Southampton and Brighton also attacked.
Heavy daytime attacks on Britain. British claim 133 German planes shot down, later revised to 52, with the RAF losing 28.
26th night attack in succession on London.
The Luftwaffe launches its last major daylight raid against England, with the main targets being London and the Westland aircraft factory in Yeovil. The Luftwaffe loses 43 aircraft to the RAF's 16 and are now fully convinced that they must switch to night attacks to avoid crippling losses. British civilian casualties for the month September announced: 6,954 dead, 10,615 injured.
Beaverbrook announces gifts received for aircraft purchases now total £6,098,826.
Churchill makes statement to Commons claiming that bombing casualties are falling. The RAF attacks Berlin.
The Luftwaffe raids Scarborough in North Yorkshire, during which two Parachute Mines are dropped.
Night raids on London continue.
Bomb holes roof of Balham tube station: 64 killed.
The RAF continue its attacks on Berlin.
London has longest air raid to date as a Catholic orphanage is among the buildings hit. British claim 41 German planes shot down in the past week against 21 British. The total German losses over Britain since the war began are put at a staggering 2,762 against Britain’s 780.
RAF bomb Berlin for 25th time.
RAF Bomber Command is given its first directive sanctioning area-bombing.
The Battle of Britain is now considered as over by the British Air Ministry. RAF bomb Naples for the first time. British civilian casualty figures announced for October: 6,334 killed and 8,695 seriously injured.
The Royal Air Force attacks the Krupp munition works in Essen.
RAF bomb Munich shortly after Hitler appears there.
Italian aircraft attack Thames Estuary with little success: first and last Italian air attack on Britain.
The Luftwaffe launches 449 bombers in a heavy night attack against the major manufacturing city of Coventry, dropping around 400 tons of bombs causing severe damage to industrial and civilian installations. The city centre is badly damaged, with 21 factories being destroyed and the cathedral wrecked but for its spire. The raid kills or injures 1,419 people and makes thousands homeless. A new word is created in both the English and German languages, 'Coventrate' and 'Coventrieren', meaning the physical and psychological destruction of a city.
67 RAF Wellington, Whitley, and Hampden bombers attack Hamburg, doing extensive damage to the city and shipyards, with no loss of aircraft.
131 RAF Bomber Command aircraft make raids on four Hamburg targets.
The Luftwaffe launches a major raid against Birmingham, inflicting heavy damage in places.
Southampton is hit badly by the Luftwaffe.
The Luftwaffe bomb Bristol.
British civilian casualty figures for November: 4,588 killed, 6,202 injured.
Sheffield is heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe.
134 RAF bombers attack Mannheim in revenge for German attacks against British cities. This is the RAF's largest attack on a single target thus far in the war. 115 German civilian's were killed or injured and 1,266 made homeless. It is also the first reprisal raid, approved by the War Cabinet, for German attacks on British towns.
Fifty British Bomber Command Whitley and Hampden bombers attack German seaplane bases on Sylt.
The Luftwaffe continues its attacks against British cities, this time hitting Liverpool.
The RAF attacks Berlin, inflicting only minor damage.
The Luftwaffe launches a major incendiary raid against London, destroying or badly damaging a number of historic buildings.
British civilian casualties figures for the month: 3,793 killed, 5,244 injured.
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